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Off to War - A Poem

Updated on November 3, 2015
Our family has served this country proudly through three generations.
Our family has served this country proudly through three generations. | Source

Called to action

During our family’s second consecutive military tour in Germany, the political climate in the Middle East began to heat up. The country of Iraq had invaded Kuwait causing great fear throughout the region, and tension across the globe.

The United States Military was put on alert, and ultimately, called to action. The artillery unit my husband supported began deployment procedures. Equipment and personnel were readied, dates and times set, and units began their long and tense trips into the war zone.

During this time, those who were detached from their units in support roles, were called back in order to deploy with their assigned units. My husband, and the three other men who worked with him, were required to travel over two hours from the little German town we had made our home, to join the main unit at their deployment point.

Their mode of transportation to join the unit was the German railway system. Here we were, military families, wives and children, in a train station putting our soldiers on a train to go “Off to War.” It was a surreal scene, something out of an old black-and-white World War II movie.

There is no way to describe the emotion in that railway station, the tension, fear, and pain these families felt. This poem “Off to War” is my way of sharing that day and those emotions with you . . . the reader. Perhaps you have had to send a husband or a son off to war and you will relate to this poem.

Nineteen years later I found myself reliving the same feelings of fear and pain as I sent my son “Off to War.”


Off To War

Tender eyes, Softly swimming in salty tears

Locked in longing looks,

Unspoken good byes, Whispered devotions,

Hearts pounding painfully in tight chests.

A crowded sea of people bound together,

Only the sounds of sorrow break the hushed silence.

It is time

Torn apart, Breaking hearts,

Good-bye waves, readied graves,

Children crying, clinging to their mother’s legs

Waving wives, sobbed good byes

Mouthed adieus by the strong and brave

Prayers ascending, petitions unending

To keep them from the readied graves.


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    • miss_jkim profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you wisdom25. I look forward to a day when we no longer send our sons, daughters, husbands and wives "Off to War."

    • wisdom25 profile image

      Maurice Wisdom Bishop 

      6 years ago from San Tan Valley

      Great Poem! I could definitely remember when I had to go to remember. A lot of crying and hugs. I hate that feeling. Again great poem. Much Love and Respect

    • miss_jkim profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago


      What you perceive as dramatic is simply very strong emotions, and perhaps my strong emotions are translated as dramatic to some.

      Glad you like it and thank you for the read.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      M..Kim you certainly have the flair for dramatics I LOVED IT!

    • miss_jkim profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you KBD, for stopping buy and sharing your military experiences with me. Thanks to you and your family, for your years of service to this great country. It takes very special people to serve on active duty, and to serve on the front lines of prayer at home.

      I look forward to the day when peace, health, and prosperity are the norm as well. However, I don't think we will see it on this earth.

      God bless, and know there is an army of prayers who keep our military men and women lifted up daily.

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 

      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      Absolutely beautiful... I know where you were coming from, and so it spoke to my heart. I am the daughter of a United States Marine (ret.), I spent the first sixteen years of my marriage as a Navy wife, and in 13 months, I will be kissing my oldest child good-bye as he leaves for boot camp, absolutely determined since the age of 5 to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps as soon as he graduates.....It is a tough life not only for our soldiers and sailors but for the family that is left behind...I pray everyday that the world will be a better place for my children, that we will see an end to all wars, to famine, to disease. The reality is that until that day, we need those brave men and women of our armed services to protect our freedom...

    • miss_jkim profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you Micky, and bless all members of our armed forces and their families; as well as, all of our veterans.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Very beautiful! God bless your family!

    • miss_jkim profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      It will truly be a day of rejoicing when all of mankind puts down their weapons, and lives in peace and harmony.

      That may be just a dream, so until they all come home, I stand proudly and kneel daily.

      Great thanks to you and your family’s sacrifices and service to our beloved country.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You poem said it all. Having been a military brat and wife I always enjoyed the life, the travel, the new places but when the orders came for deployment to a war zone you just seem to hold your breath an go into waiting mode.

      Glad your son has returned and is safe.

    • miss_jkim profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      uncanwork, Thank you for your post.

      Yes, military families do indeed sacrifice, but they do so as proudly as those who are on the front lines. I am proud to be from a long family line of those who have served.


      Indeed my son is home from his Afghan experience, and I so appreciate the prayers that were lifted for him while he was there. Yes, those memories are still painful today. And I still shed a tear when I see the returning soldiers with their families on T V. Of course they are bittersweet tears; tears of joy for them, tears for those whose loved one returned in a flag draped coffin, and a few tears of my own. Sometimes when they return, they are not the same person who left.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks JKIM, I think...been there for real on both accounts of sending husbands & son off to the 'readied" grave.. Thank God they both returned to their families, as yours did, well, believing ur son will be home soon... I said I think because it still hurts to remember the pain accompanied with these good byes.. Thanks for sharing..

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The service of your son and husband to this country is greatly appreciated. Even those who support our military often don't think about the sacrifices made by the families back home. Your sacrifices are greatly appreciated too.


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